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    FPL power plant tanks become patriotic and marine murals overlooking manatee crisis


    November 28, 2022 - Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel

     

      The Florida Power & Light Co. power plant along the west shore of the Indian River in central Brevard County has become the epicenter of the manatee starvation crisis brought on by an ecosystem collapse from pollution.

      During winter’s chill, the animals congregate there by the hundreds in the warm waters discharged by the hulking industrial site’s three electricity generators.

      Just off U.S. Highway 1, the power plant has become a visual emblem of an emergency feeding program for manatees, as a site where many of the emaciated animals are rescued and as at the heart of an aquatic killing field.

      In that setting, FPL has begun to render two enormous tanks – that stand as the background of where the emergency feeding takes place – into murals of patriotism and marine life.

      The manatee crisis and the billboard-size paintings are not related, the utility says.

      “FPL is always looking to beautify our equipment, where possible, and have undergone similar art projects at other facilities throughout the state,” spokesperson Marshall Hastings said.

      The two tanks hold water, with at least one of them stenciled with the words “Service fire water.” Their original color schemes were a two-tone battleship gray.

      “At the Cape Canaveral Power Plant, we are painting two water containers, one with maritime life and the second with stars and stripes,” Hastings said.

      Hastings added that similar designs have been applied at other FPL generator sites and the mural work in Brevard County will be complete in December.

      The red, white and blue tank depicts strips at the bottom, with stars above and the FPL emblem in the center.

      The image of marine life includes rays, a school of fish and a lone sea turtle, with a bit of reef rise into a corner.

      The newly painted tanks are not readily visible from the road outside the plant, U.S. Highway 1, and are more apparent from the Indian River, although state authorities are banning boats from going near the plant because of the manatee crisis.

      There are no manatees in the mural of marine life.

      kspear@orlandosentinel.com

      ©2022 Orlando Sentinel. Visit orlandosentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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